If you ever watched Seinfeld, the title of this essay will immediately reveal the nature of the topic. For those of you who haven’t, this essay is about homosexuality and its quest for equal recognition under the law. As previously inferred in the essay Sex, Morality, and the Law, the practice of homosexuality in and of itself should not be, and is not, of any legal importance to the well being of society and as such, has no business being legislated. Homosexuals are no different from anyone else, except for their sexual preferences. They eat, breathe, work, sleep, think, feel, and love just as any other human being does. They look just like other people. They sound like other people. They are our friends and neighbors and family members. Yet for some reason, they are set apart from the heterosexual majority, as if they deserve less from this country and less from our laws.

What arguments exist that makes this segregation seem reasonable? Those who condemn the gay lifestyle typically use one of several justifications for discriminating against homosexuals: religion, nature, or family values. One of the oldest, yet still quite popular, justifications used is that of religion. Early religious doctrines outlawed homosexual behavior as abominations in the eyes of god, a concept based in part on the assertions that sex is bad, and though sex is bad, it’s okay if it makes more babies who will grow up and worship god. The corollary being that god only allows sex to make babies, and since homosexual activity will never result in offspring it is wrong. But more than just wrong, it is an affront to god to abuse his method for perpetual glorification by using the gift of life for mere pleasure. From this logic comes the dictum that homosexual behavior is a sin and should be outlawed.

The obvious flaw with this argument lays not so much in the description of how babies are made, but the idea that sex equals babies is universally held and therefore deserves legal status. But this is often the mistake with arguments based solely on theological reasoning, because the nature of our religious institutions prevent them from admitting any fault with their religious doctrine, keeping them from recognizing the contradictions within their own holy texts regarding the treatment of people as free individuals while insisting that their actions are free only if god doesn’t object, which he pretty much always does. Since the religious argument’s only justification is to please god, which is highly subjective, this argument is not sufficient for denying legal status and must be dismissed.

In a similar vein, those who would argue that homosexuality “just isn’t natural” have a hard time making that claim stick. Their main premise is identical to the religious premise, only without the god part. Basically, the argument relies on the notion that sex is basically a procreative behavior, and that sexual encounters that can’t possibly produce offspring are therefore against the natural design that clearly gave male/female opposites the complimentary parts for achieving this end. Though less judgmental regarding the pleasurable effects of sex, this only applies to heterosexual behavior, being fringe benefits for helping nature run her course.

The problem with this argument is that when it is examined further along the lines of “natural design,” it could be argued that homosexuality in itself is of natural design too. After all, if humans are creatures of nature, then our variations are natural as well. If among these variations one results in homosexual behavior, then isn’t that by natural design also? As it must be so, then homosexuality is just as natural as heterosexuality or bisexuality or even asexuality. The mere fact that homosexuality constitutes a minority of the population is irrelevant in this context, since the percentages are also set by natural design. If we know anything about the natural world, it is that in all species, variation abounds. This argument actually proves itself wrong when allowed to run a logical course, so it is not sufficient for denying legal status and must be dismissed.

That leaves us with the last ditch effort to find a reason for justifying the segregation of homosexuals and equal recognition under the law. The “family values” argument. This argument begins with the premise that for children to be raised to become productive citizens, the family unit should contain a man and a woman. This is the most important facet of the family values argument. As long as there is a man and a woman together as parents, the family values requirement has been satisfied. Since homosexual couples can’t meet this requirement, the can’t become a “real family.” Since a “real family” is the only way to properly raise children, for the good of society, all legally recognized families must be of this basic design.

The family values argument pretends to preserve the family unit, but makes no other real efforts towards solving the actual problems in today’s families. What is more harmful to the cohesion of family units: divorce or two parents who love each other and want to stay together, but happen to be the same sex? Which is more damaging: the lack of parental participation or having two moms’ at the mother/daughter tea? Which is more debilitating for a child: an abusive natural parent or seeing his two dads’s kissing? The family values argument makes no real effort to encourage heterosexual families to create and maintain secure, stable, emotionally supportive families for children, which would better reflect the concept of valuing the family. Instead, they only seek to prevent homosexuals from participating in one of life’s great joys and endeavors, the task of parenthood. Because the real truth about the family values argument, the dirty little secret, is that this argument is based on plain old bigotry, dressed up in its finest clothes. It’s discrimination in its purest form and when it’s hypocrisy is revealed, it proves to be the least sufficient for denying legal status and must be dismissed.

As this leaves us with no other arguments that can justify the unequal legal status homosexuals currently endure, it is the duty of this government to remove any barriers that prevent homosexual couples from enjoying the same legal status heterosexuals have with regards to marriage, adoption, taxes, work benefits, and on and on. Science seems to support the assertion that homosexuality is a natural occurrence, something hardwired into a person’ genetic code. Religion and bigotry (not always the same, mind you) insist that it is simply a behavioral issue that can easily be repressed or reformed or outlawed into extinction. The scientific view has more going for it, in terms of common sense, and it has the added benefit of not legislating religious morality by proxy.

As with other issues discussed recently, removing the barriers for homosexual couples has no effect on individual couples’ relationships. How many people do you know that would throw away their hetero relationships the minute gays could get married because now their own marriage was worthless? Allowing gay people the chance to share their life with someone they love does not weaken the bonds of monogamy and child rearing. It only adds to the number of people finding individual happiness together and passing that happiness to future generations. And it strengthens the bonds of society through the continued affirmation in the belief for freedom and equality for all citizens.